Johanna Konta set to meet 'tenacious' Elina Svitolina in US Open quarter-finals
By Emma Thurston
Last Updated: 03/09/19 7:01pm
Johanna Konta is focused ahead of her meeting with the "tenacious" fifth seed Elina Svitolina in the US Open quarter-finals on Tuesday.
The British No 1 came through a thrilling three-set clash with Karolina Pliskova on Sunday to progress into the last eight at Flushing Meadows for the first time.
Konta stoically climbed back from a set and 3-1 down in order to prevail 6-7 (1-7) 6-3 7-5. As a result, she became the first British woman to reach the quarter-finals in New York since Jo Durie did so back in 1983.
Next is an encounter with Elina Svitolina after the fifth seed beat Madison Keys 7-5 6-4 in the fourth round. Konta, speaking before she knew her opponent, highlighted her expectations when it comes to Svitolina.
"Against Elina, she's a tough player for me to play and I've had a lot of difficulties against her as well," said the Brit during her press conference after her fourth round victory.
"She's incredibly tenacious and a tremendous competitor. I would be going out there anticipating it to be a tough match, anticipating her to be there from the very beginning to the very end and looking to compete well against her."
Despite meting the Ukrainian player four times previously, Konta has yet to taste victory against her. The two players' most-recent meeting was in Montreal last year and the quartet of encounters have all come on hard courts.
However, in Konta's corner lies a record of having won 17 of her 20 three-set matches this year. It's a tally that few others can boast, yet she isn't putting it down to anything in particular.
"I think generally, three-set records or being successful in three sets, comes from playing a lot of matches as well," Konta shared.
"I don't necessarily think it's anything specific. I trust myself to be out there on court for as long as needed and to play the games for as long as I need to.
"I don't feel any time pressure to be off the court in certain amount of time so maybe I feel comfortable being out there for three sets.
"Whatever the game asks of me, I'm prepared to be out there and play for as long as I need to - I will either do well or I won't."
In November last year, the 28-year-old announced Dimitri Zavialoff as her new coach. Zavialoff's formal appointment came after a successful trial period and followed Konta's split with Michael Joyce.
Despite early-stage losses on the hard courts of Toronto and Cincinnati, Konta's campaign at Flushing Meadows has seen her flourish with Zavialoff watching on.
When asked to pinpoint the greatest contribution that her coach has given to her, the Brit took time to think before answering.
"Probably the biggest thing that he has brought to me is space. Space to be exactly who I am and who I want to be on court," the 28-year-old said.
"He's encouraged my self-development in my own way. His very nurturing in that way and has a great understanding of giving a player space to grow. That's enabled us to work well together.
"I'm also really grateful to him for creating an environment, along with Dan and the rest of the team, of excitement.
"I'm really excited to come to work today and to learn every day. That's a really privileged position to be in, in any job, I feel very grateful for that."
Konta's contentment can almost be felt on court as she has looked more relaxed than ever before, cracking smiles mid-match, and has coupled this with clinical tennis.
The British No 1 has shown an ability to deliver greater variety within her game and the result has been a march through the rounds which has turned the heads of her opponents.
"On a personal to be able to make the quarters for my third Slam in a row, I think that's a really big achievement for me so I'm really pleased with that", added Konta.
"I'm looking forward to keeping going further and further, but you know how I am in terms of taking one match at a time."
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